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Nicole Kidman And Guy Pearce Join Indie Australian Thriller Strangerland

Australians are doing it for themselves, at least when it comes to Screen Australia, a production company who recently entered into a deal where they’ll invest a handful of millions into six different features. One of these films is the greenlit indie thriller Strangerland, which just signed stars Nicole Kidman, Guy Pearce and Hugo Weaving for the leading roles. What, no Paul Hogan?

The film will follow parents Catherine and Matthew Parker, who we’ll assume will be played by Kidman and Pearce, who are driven to the point of madness whenever their two teenage children go missing somewhere in the distant Australian outback, and they’re soon “forced to confront the mystery of their children’s fate,” according to the description from THR. That’s a pretty hardcore phrasing, and we’ll stretch our character assumptions to include some kind of a maniac played by Weaving. Perhaps the male roles will be opposites, but I can easily picture Weaving as a malicious bearded madman.

I don’t think it’s a stretch to mention here that another Australian, Hugh Jackman, gave one of his best performances in the recently released dramatic thriller Prisoners, in which he played the parent of a missing child. I’m not so sure this film will reach that heightened level of tension however.

Strangerland will be directed by Kim Farrant, most notable for her 2007 documentary Naked on the Inside and a few episodes of the Australian crime drama Rush. The script was written by Fiona Seres, who has written for many Australian series and co-created the familial drama Tangled, and Michael Kirirons.

Kidman, last seen in Park Chan-wook’s excellent slow-burn thriller Stoker, is entering a potentially noteworthy period in her career, as she’ll be seen both as Grace Kelly in Olivier Dahan’s Grace of Monaco and explorer Gertrude Bell in Werner Herzog’s Queen of the Desert. Those roles will be balanced by Jonathan Teplitzky’s historical drama The Railway Man, Paul King’s Paddington and of course Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues, a film that needs no description.

You probably saw Pearce in Iron Man 3, one of this year’s biggest films, or perhaps in Drake Doremus’ festival-going drama Breathe In. He’ll soon be seen with Kristen Wiig in the Alice Munro short story adaptation Hateship Loveship, and in David Michôd’s suspenseful drama The Rover. After a pretty strong 2012 with Lockout and Lawless – his role in Prometheus is worth less of a mention – it’ll be good to see Pearce in a straight thriller again.

The always dependable Weaving was busy for a while filming The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug and The Hobbit: There and Back Again for Peter Jackson, and somehow still found the time to team up with Screen Australia for Ivan Sen’s crime drama Mystery Road,Tony Mahony’s crime flick The Mule and Craig Monahan’s prison drama Healing.

There’s no word yet on when Strangerland will begin production, but you can bet we’ll be bringing you more news about it, even if you’re stuck out in the middle of the Australian desert.

Nick Venable

Nick is a Cajun Country native, and is often asked why he doesn't sound like that's the case. His love for his wife and daughters is almost equaled by his love of gasp-for-breath laughter and gasp-for-breath horror. A lifetime spent in the vicinity of a television screen led to his current dream job, as well as his knowledge of too many TV themes and ad jingles.